Garza's Better Balls Win Battle of the Rehabbers

Matt Garza looked all tuned up and ready to go tonight at Principal Park as he tossed six scoreless innings that required only 75 pitches by my count. Maybe it was the balls. More on those later. He also fielded his one chance with the glove flawlessly.


Both of the hits Garza allowed, one of them a ringing single off the right-field wall, came in the 2nd, an inning that ended on a 4-6-3 double play. From that point until there were two down in the 6th he retired 12 straight before hitting the next to last batter he faced.


All told he fanned six, two looking; four trying, and walked no one. By innings his pitch counts were 13, 18, 11, 11, 14 and 8. Ten days ago he topped out at 94 in the velocity department. Tonight he hit 96 once and 95 several times. I found no fault in his performance but when he made his way out of the box toward 1st at a pace that can most charitably be described as pedestrian after swatting a routine grounder a rather tubby old guy not far from me in the stands really let him have it, loudly labeling him a “lollygagger.” No one else held that against him. When he made his way from the dugout to the clubhouse between the 6th and 7th innings most of the fans rose and applauded in appreciation of the work he was sent here to do as he passed by, tipping his cap and pausing to sign one autograph along the way.


Now, back to the balls. 


One of Garza’s 75 pitches was fouled over the roof into the parking lot. My vantage point and the ballpark’s design permitted me to track the ball and I noticed that no one went in pursuit of it. At inning’s end I dashed out and found it next to a motorcycle. When I picked it up I saw that it wasn’t a PCL ball; it was an official major leaguer. A couple frames later I located a man who’d stepped out for a smoke and retrieved another of Garza’s offerings that was fouled out of play. It too was a Bud Selig autographed model. Then, as I was leaving after Garza was through, another ball came bouncing along as I was getting into my car. A mother snagged it for her little boy and I asked them if I could have a look at it. Brooks Raley was now pitching in relief and, sure enough, this souvenir was the regular PCL equipment. Do you suppose it was by Garza’s request that MLB balls were furnished for him or were they ordered by higher authorities’? And since his mound opponent was fellow rehabber Clayton Richard, do you think the same courtesy was afforded him? 


Besides Garza, who left with a 1-0 lead by the way, the other aspect of the game I paid particular attention to were the at-bats of the now bearded Brett Jackson. All told, in the three I witnessed he saw 14 pitches and swung at 12 of them while striking out twice and flying to the warning track in center.


That is all...



MIKE: MLB rehab pitchers always get to use MLB baseballs when they pitch in a minor league game, even at Extended Spring Training. Healthy MLB pitchers use MLB baseballs when they pitch in a Minor League Spring Training game, too. You'll notice the home plate umpire changing out his baseballs every half-inning (unless two MLB pitchers are pitching against each other in the same minor league game).

However, MLB position players rehabbing in a minor league game or playing in a Minor League Spring Training game have to hit minor league baseballs.

The main difference between MLB baseballs and minor league baseballs is the threading of the seams. Not a lot of difference, but MLB pitchers can tell one from the other.

Why would you want the threading on the balls to be different?

then maybe the greater story is that when he pitched here on the 6th the balls he was using, at least in the 1st inning that day, were PCL's...otherwise, as that Gilda Radner character used to say on SNL, 'never mind...'

#2 Mark Appel

"Analysis: This is Appel or Gray, assuming one of them goes first, with Appel the preference. The Cubs are in the catbird seat in this draft -- they don't have to pay the premium that comes with picking first overall but are guaranteed to get one of the two huge arms in the class."

"Nick D. (Atlanta)- Barring injury, is there any chance the Cubs reach outside of Gray and Appel at #2?

Klaw - I believe there is zero chance of that."

Remember Albert Almora? The Cubs’ first-round pick last June is almost all the way back after breaking his hamate bone in mid-March. He’s been playing center field and hitting in extended spring games in Arizona and should soon be assigned to the low-A Kane County Cougars. There’s no sign yet of Junior Lake, who suffered a stress fracture to the top rib on his right side in mid-March. Outfielder Reggie Golden, a second-round pick in 2010 recovering from two torn ligaments in his left knee, appears close to completing his recovery. He has a slash line of .250/.438/.470 in extended spring, according to “Arizona Phil’’ of The Cub Reporter, who tracks these things.

wow...Arizona Phil's universe intersects with Wrong-way Phil Rogers!

per Roto...

The Cubs will wait to see how Matt Garza (lat) feels and how his bullpen session goes Saturday before they make a decision about activating him.
Garza declared himself ready to rejoin the Cubs' rotation after six scoreless innings during Thursday's rehab start. It's probably just a formality at this point before the team announces that he'll rejoin the rotation next week. Carlos Villanueva is the likeliest candidate to be demoted to the bullpen.

Baseball America Hot Sheet:
Christian Villaneuva, 3b, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .435/.500/.739 (10-for-23), 3 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-2 SB

With Adrian Beltre on their big league roster and Mike Olt dominating in the upper levels of the minors last year, it made sense for the Rangers to include Villanueva in last summer’s trade to acquire Ryan Dempster. Villanueva got off to a sluggish start, but this past week has been better. He probably won’t see time in the big leagues this year, but he has a chance to be a contributor in Chicago by 2014.

Hot Sheet Chat:
Ryan (Chicago): Does Christian Villaneuva have enough power to be an everyday 3rd baseman in the Bigs?

Matt Eddy: That will be the determining factor. Scouts see Villanueva as being right on the borderline now between first- and second-division in the HR department. His glove will allow him ample time to develop his power approach at Triple-A if that’s what stands in his way of playing in the bigs.

Recent comments

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  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.

  • TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.

    I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.

  • ...joe.

  • "Strop vs. Cardinals." Seen the movie. Hated it.

    Not all that disappointed -- I didn't think they would beat Lackey in Game 1. Need to get the bats going against the guys with less experience -- and they hit Wacha pretty good.

  • Rizzo has been slumping the last couple weeks of the season. Very disappointed it has continued during his penultimate moment of his career to date.

  • Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester pulled and Strop pulled in. Should of left Lester in. oy.

  • Sweet merciful fuck, I hate the Cardinals.

  • *flips table*